Re: twenty to thirty something demographic
From: Chris ScottHanson (
Date: Sat, 12 Aug 2006 20:34:48 -0700 (PDT)
I agree. We seem to ignore housing issues for our teens and 20 somethings who have "moved out" or tried to do so. They may not be ready to BUY a house, but they do need housing, and they could benefit from community, I think.

Affording an apartment is tough at that age, and normally impossible to do alone. My son had several "less than pleasant" experiences with shared housing while he was in his early twenties and not at a University. (I never had the problem as I was forced to join the service [in the '60s] and then got married so I could live off base, at the ripe old age of 20.)

I would like to take this opportunity to make a plug for more and better "guest rooms" in cohousing.

If they are designed properly, from programming for flexibility and varied size, to a balance of privacy and observability, they can be extremely valuable to a community in ways one might not otherwise expect. For instance, why not design for the following kinds of uses, from the obvious to the less obvious:

1) visiting guests of members (friends and family)
2) visiting guests of cohousing in general (like other cohousers)
3) temporary housing for a "live in" caregiver during an illness
4) temp. housing for residents in transition (separation, divorce, studying for the bar) 5) temp. housing for teens and 20 somethings "moving out" (six months - two years?)
6) temp. housing for 20 somethings moving back (six months - two years?)
7) semi-perm. housing for family members with a mental illness or a disability, who need support, but also need some independence.

NOTE THE COMMONALITY. "Guest rooms" can be smaller than a "normal unit", very modest, affordable housing for those who need support, for those who should have support but may not know it, and for those who ask for help and accept it.

In one community I lived in we did a demographics curve comparison and found DOULBE the national average of 0 - 9, and 10 - 19. We found almost zero 20 - 29, and below norm for 30 -39. Other age groups, 40 and up were generally reflective of the US population curves.

Chris ScottHanson

On Aug 12, 2006, at 10:24 AM, Mark Nichols wrote:

This is a great topic, and it is relevant to most intentional communities.

Last year I presented a community plan to some movers and shakers living on an island called Bainbridge about 30 minutes by ferry from Seattle. In the
plan for a working educational community I identified two obvious
demographic holes: 1) any sort of ethnically diverse population and 2) The 20 to 30 year olds! Though Bainbridge has a very healthy population up 'til the 18 year old cut off, the kids fly the nest and can't and don't come back. Without going into the details of the plan I will say that we all
agreed that the absence of these two groups was sad and an obvious
demonstration of not yet ideal community. We identified some basic needs of
the 20 to 30 year olds that could met in some part by our plan:

1) A chance to continue education
2) Freedom of expression
3) Mentorship possibilities and apprenticeships
4) The ability to come and go
5) Financial support (mostly having to do with the unreal relativity between
their earning power and their elders')
6) Interesting and creative work and play opportunities
7) Other people of the same age
8) A chance to build and own a piece of something tangible
9) A real chance to give back (like Patty's son's computer contributions)

Just a few ideas to ponder,


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